We had a phenomenal launch event here in San Francisco this month, with more than a hundred of our close friends and colleagues coming together for the unveiling of the Hoop Fund and to see what we’re doing with two of our founding partners, Indigenous Designs and Alter Eco.
With Alter Eco chocolate, quinoa, and rice for people to enjoy, and designer apparel from Indigenous Design to try on, we presented five loan projects for the communities behind all the fantastic products on display: from a seed bank for the grower’s of Alter Eco’s red jasmine rice in Thailand, to a hand knitting loom for the weavers of Indigenous sweaters in Peru. All in all we raised $1200 in 0% loans that night for those projects and three others, and we’re working hard to get those projects fully funded.
We were excited about how enthusiastically people responded to our vision of “invested consumption”: how we each can invest in the makers of great products in the developing world, and create our own personal stories about how we turned our consumption into something more meaningful. “I want to invest in chocolate!” one attendee told me after sampling several pieces of Alter Eco’s organic Dark Velvet chocolate.
Even better, we received countless words of encouragement and advice. We found out from Daniel Torpey of Crofter’s Organic and others that we needed to be clearer on our operational model: how do the loans work and how does the Hoop hope to make money? Thaleon Tremain of Pachamama Coffee, advised us to focus more on our core message, “boil it down to its essence, that full circle that’s closing the loop between buying and investing”. We also heard great suggestions on what other brands we should bring into the Hoop: from Dr. Bronners soap and body care products, to prAna’s yoga & outdoor wear, to Fair Trade wine, jewelry, soccer balls and more. We’ve already updated our site to better answer those questions, but are always looking for more feedback. Please keep it coming!
Meanwhile, JD Lasica of Socialbrite, and Vera Churilov of Shareable wrote articles with their takes on the event. Check out their stories.
Thanks to the Hub SoMa (our home in the city) and everyone that came to put their energy behind this new movement. We couldn’t have asked for a more energetic crowd. And if you’re one of our pioneer lenders, please help spread the word! In the meanwhile, don’t forget to enjoy more of the great chocolate, quinoa, or clothing, you’re helping to produce!
All the best,
p.s. Check out this short interview with one of our Hoop Pioneers!